Posts Tagged ‘redemption’

Walk The Line

January 19, 2009

What Is It?

The long awaited (at least by me) bio-pic of Johnny Cash and his rocky relationships and eventual redemption. The story starts with him as a child, where we meet his hymn loving mother and alcoholic father. We follow him through his early years and his rocket to success, all leading him to June Carter.

How Was It?

The story was intricate and interesting. The acting was superb. There are a lot of people calling for Oscar nominations, and I have to agree. These people become the historical figures that they are portraying. They will take you on a sometimes fun, sometimes tragic, always emotionally engaging ride, with a whole lot of great music along the way.

Was It Good For Kids?

This would be very hard for kids to follow. Younger people may find the story “boring” for that reason. (Though, they could be hooked by the fabulous music). I think the main problem is that we are shown Mr. Cash springing down into depravity. It is shown as bad, but he is still the likable hero. Most children will not be able to separate the “value judgments” made about his actions from the actions themselves.

You can get a complete breakdown of what is on the screen at Screenit.com.

What About Spiritual Issues?

In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Bono of U2 said that the songs that most “get him going” are the ones about people running toward God or running away from God, because both “put God at the center”. I kept thinking about that throughout this film. God seems to be a constant looming presence in all the activities. His brother wants to be a preacher, his mother gives him a hymnal, and Johnny is running, either moving away or toward God.

On the way to a concert, Jerry Lee Lewis says something to the effect of (I can’t remember verbatim): “We are all going to Hell. We are not supposed to eat the forbidden fruit, we are not supposed to touch it, come near it or sing about it. (It was much better worded in the film.). This idea permeates the film. Most of the characters (or people portrayed in the film) come out of a church culture. They see what they are doing as sinful, but then handle it differently. Some feel separated; others are still looking for something. Johnny suffers from a feeling of inferiority, that he cannot do any good, because he is not good enough.

The other great thing about this film is that they show sinful behavior, but only enough to make the point, not enough to be tantalizing. Particularly with his extramarital affairs, they show you that they are happening, or have happened, but we never need to see the actions themselves. They also show that it was “fun” but that the joy of the sin is fleeting. It was one of the best depictions of sin I have seen in a long time.

The problem is the dichotomy between salvation from God and salvation from finding human love and morals. It may be that they are saying that the God thing was a part of his life, but it was more about morals and June Carter. Though Johnny, in real life, never strayed away from the darker side (hey, he was the Man In Black), after his conversion/ re-dedication his faith was always a constant part of his life and music. They seem to have taken a lot of the emphasis off his spirituality (especially in the short portion they showed of his Folsome Prison show).

When he was alive, he and producer Rick Ruben came out with a 3 disc retrospective of his life. The discs were called “Love, Murder, God” because they felt that all of his music could be categorized in those three. It seems the producers of this film lost there third disc.

What Is Your Recommendation?

This is a very, very good movie. Brian Godawa charges the filmmakers with “raping the story of its spiritual content”. I would have to see it again to agree or not, but he does make a lot of great points.

The movie defiantly puts less emphasis on his spiritual life than was there (from what I know of the man). Though, the way the spirituality is there, brooding under the surface, reminds me of one of Johnny Cash’s own albums.

I’m not sure if it is a positive movie. I don’t know what Mr. Cash would have thought himself, but this movie defiantly brings up a lot of issues surrounding God and grace. This movie could spark some great thoughts and great conversation. If you go, you will be very entertained. You’ll also get a lot more out of it if you go with someone willing to talk it through afterward.

B000E8QVWY Walk the Line

P.S. If you see it, and then are scrambling for some of the music, I suggest “The Legend Of Johnny Cash*” “American IV: The Man Comes Around” and “My Mother’s Hymn Book” After that, if you need more, just start with his Final album and work your way back.

*You will want to shield your kids from the photo under the disc and the song “Delia”.

P.S.

When he was alive, Mr. Cash did make his own movie about life, sin and redemption.

B000E8N8SE The Gospel Road

Ok, This may be unrelated, but here are his last two music videos:

and this was my take on “Hurt”

Iron Man – Q&E Review Show

November 3, 2008

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (DVD)

October 24, 2008

What Is It?

This is the monster movie classic from 1941. It has a cast of big stars that your kids (and maybe you) will not recognize. The “Father of the Bride” Spencer Tracy plays the good doctor and the monster that haunts Ingrid Bergman & Lana Turner. It was directed by Victor Flemming after his 1939 hits “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With The Wind.” Shot in black and white, this film looks and sounds wonderful on the new “re-release” DVD that also includes the 1930’s version.

How Was It?

This was a good film, but I think I would have been more impressed in 1941. The story was strong and interesting. Unfortunately the pacing of the film is just a bit slow. Mr. Hyde becomes more “monstrous” as the film goes on. Each time he changes, it’s uglier. This is a poetic choice, but at the beginning, it’s hard to understand why Dr. Jekyll’s friends don’t see the amazing resemblance between him and Mr. Hyde.

Is It Good For Kids?

First of all, it is in Black and White. Most kids today have not been exposed to “good” black and white films, so most are turned off by it. Secondly, it is not as fast as most are used to. Finally, the issues are very heady. As “Mr Hyde”, he has weird fantasies that are decidedly adult in there symbolism. Then it is a monster move with murder, ugly creators, and screaming women.

http://www.ScreenIt.com does not have a break down for this film.

How about Spiritual Issues?

This is one of the most exciting parts of the film. The film starts in a church and ends with a Psalm being recited. Dr. Jekyll is trying to control the sin nature of the human soul with chemicals instead of God. (This is clearly stated at the beginning of the film.) When the Doctor realizes that he has an evil nature that he can not control, he dedicates all his time to breaking the bond in his soul to separate out his warring factions. The result is the personification of both halves. He names his evil side Hyde (or Flesh) and becomes him to indulge in sin. The sin starts at fantasies and watching “daring” shows, but then escalates to full consummation of evil.  The problem of the soul is truly revealed when the Doctor decides to stop becoming Mr. Hyde, but then finds himself changing without the chemicals. He has not suppressed his evil, he has fed it, and now it is literally a Monster he can not control.

What Is Your Recommendation?

If you are willing to come back in film history, it is an interesting and fun movie. Here we see that trying to live your life separate from God produces monsters, and the monsters may be us.